Despite the smarmy union radio ads, Illinois legislators are attempting a pension fix.

It’s hard to avoid the cloying teachers’ union ads currently running on the radio, with the NPR-style voice-over reminding us of the value of teachers and how much they deserve their pensions. Listeners can find some comfort in the knowledge that even though teachers “don’t receive social security,” they also do not pay into social security – and their contributions to their pension funds are miniscule. In the Illinois Review, Nancy Thorner provides an excellent review of the legislation that the state of Illinois is considering right now, aimed at starting the state on a path to fixing the unfunded pension promises to teachers: http://illinoisreview.typepad.com/illinoisreview/2011/05/support-of-hb-149-critical-for-il.html#more.

As a local addendum to the Lake Forest data in the article, Wilmette District 39 residents should know that out of a total of 366 teachers/administrators in Wilmette schools, 25 earn $100,000 to $140,000 per year; another 15 teachers make between $90,000 and $100,000 annually. In addition, six administrators (under the teachers’ union contract) are making between $150,000 and $240,000 per year. Under the current contract, each teacher receives an average 5.6 percent raise each year; the contract has two more years to run before it is renegotiated. Buoyed by the success of the recent tax increase referendum, the District 39 union is unlikely to accept lower increases in a new contract, even if the district returns to deficit spending after using up the referendum bail-out. And all of these raises add to the pension obligation which the state has promised, but is unable to fund in its insolvent financial condition. Check out the teacher salaries in any district in the state at http://www.championnews.net/ftf_salaries.php.

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